RMDF Case Study - Compost Mulch a Plum Choice
ReMaDe Kent and Medway is managing a
series of WRAP (the Waste & Resources
Action Programme) funded trials on top fruit
and other horticultural crops in Kent, the
‘Garden of England’, in order to develop the
market for compost as a soil improver, and in
this trial, as a mulch for young fruit trees.
Twelve farms are taking part in the trials
growing a wide range of crops, including
strawberries, Victoria plums, cherries, Cox
and Braeburn apples, blackcurrants and hops.
The early establishment of the newly planted trees is critical for maximum growth and fruit yields in later years. One of the main factors affecting their early development is water stress, and organic materials, such as straw, have traditionally been used to reduce the evaporation of water from the soil surface. Weeds also use water in competition with the fruit trees – mulches can suppress annual weed germination, conserving water and reducing the need for herbicides.